You've decided to hold an open house.  But how do you effectively run an open house on your own?

Before potential buyers even step into your home, there are several ways to prepare your property to ensure your open house is a success.

Prepare your Home
Make a good first impression. Don't forget about the exterior of your home. How your property appears from the outside is just as important and how it looks on the inside.
Keep these in mind:

  • Fix what's broken. Consider painting if necessary. Pay attention to the condition of your windows, shutters, screens and gutters. 

  • Make smart updates based on what buyers want and what's standard for your neighborhood.

  • Remove all vehicles, bikes, and toys from the driveway, mow the lawn and trim the hedges. Make sure the front door is spotless, including the doorknob.

  • Inside your home, cleanliness is key.  Most important, clean the front hallway,
    kitchen and bathrooms. Clean your carpets and/or replace worn carpets, if possible.

Stage your Home
Stage your home by de-cluttering, depersonalizing and neutralizing, among other techniques.  Walk through your property and think "Less is more."

  • Your home must be spotless and clutter-free. Remove all items from counter tops in the kitchen and bathrooms.  Your goal is a counter with nothing but an accent piece or flowers on it.  Even that coffee machine should be removed from the counter.

  • Place furniture in such a way to maximize the spacious feel of every room.  Ensure that potential buyers don't have to walk around furniture to enter the room or squeeze through any tight spaces between furniture.

  • Let in the light: Open all the drapes, blinds, and window coverings. Turn on lamps and overhead fixtures, too.

  • Do not use an air freshener, as many people are allergic to synthetic odors.  If your carpets have an odor problem, cover them with baking soda for an afternoon then vacuum up the baking soda to remove the smell.

  • Brighten a room with a vase of fresh flowers.

  • If budget permits, serve light refreshments or snacks.  We recommend snacks or sweets that are a single bite, don't make fingers dirty, and don't leave crumbs.

Create a Flyer or Property Description Sheet
Create a flyer or property description sheet and hand them out to everyone who attends the open house. Include the key points and unique features of your home, as well as practical details such as address, contact information, price, photos, square footage, bedrooms/bathrooms, etc. —a cheat sheet people can take home. HomeLister can create a custom flyer for your property.  It is included in the Premium and Platinum packages and can be added to the Basic package for $39.

Prepare a Sign In Sheet
Prepare a sign-in sheet for guests to fill out their name, phone number and email address. HomeLister offers a digital sign in sheet on the open houses section of My Listings.  You can use this to collect and store open house visitor information instead of a paper sign in sheet.  To use it, just click the button and it will open in a new window for your visitors to use.

Be a Gracious Host
Greet each guest with a smile as they enter your home. The key is to maintain an upbeat yet professional attitude and to give them the freedom to see the place on their own. Additionally:

  • If you have pets, consider leaving them with a friend or a boarding house for the day.

  • Hide all valuables, medication and other personal items.

  • Greet each guest with a smile and hand them a property sheet.

  • Invite guests to tour the home at their leisure and offer to answer any questions they may have. Point out the most attractive features of the home.

  • Get feedback from each guest, including their level of interest in the home, other homes they've seen and how the home is priced compared to others on the market.

Follow Up
The day after the open house, send a "Thank You" email to everyone who attended the open house with a link to your listing.

Another option is to call each person within the following week and ask if they have any questions about the house and if they are considering it.  At the very least you may pick up valuable information about the impression your property is making and some helpful tips on areas of improvement. 

Related Articles:
How Do I Create and Change An Open House
Instructions for Open Houses
How Long Does it Take for an Open House to Show up?


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